LA Auto Show
Novermber 21, 2013—There are two cars that truly captured our attention at this year’s LA Auto Show. Sure there were many, many new car intros, but only two really moved us—the Mercedes-Benz Vision Gran Turismo Concept and the BMW i8. Also rans include the Chevy Colorado, Honda FCEV, Maserati Ghibli, and Porsche Macan.
The MB Vision Gran Turismo is a real-life interpretation of a video game car. If it looks completely absurd, it’s because it is. The wheels flare past the tires (and fenders), eight exhausts poke out of the rear and although many claim the following “this car looks fast standing still,” the Vision Concept actually does. It is a speed form that was able to materialize thanks to Mercedes and Sony’s deep pockets.
The star of the Los Angeles show, the Vision Concept received enthusiastic cheers and applause from the normally jaded automotive journalist crowd when the sleek cover was pulled off. Sadly, the Vision will never see actual production. The closest anyone will ever get to driving it is in the upcoming Gran Turismo 6.
MB did show variations on existing models (GLA 250, GLA 45 AMG Concept and S65 AMG) but somehow stole the show in spite of the fact that they didn’t debut any all-new cars except for a fantasy concept that everyone knows is destined for the crusher. That’s how exciting the Vision is.
The only other debut car that we found compelling was BMW’s i8. Although BMW has been showing its ‘Vision Concept’ (no relation to MB’s) for what seems like three decades now, this was the production version’s North American reveal. It weighs in at 3285 pounds, which certainly isn’t light and makes a total of 362 combined hp (it is a hybrid drivetrain featuring a 1.5L, three cylinder engine and an electric motor). However, as the motor provides the bulk of torque, all available from zero rpm, it sprints to sixty mph in 4.4 seconds.
Not a world-beater, but certainly not slow either. The car is pretty but has sadly lost the glass doors of the concept (which were probably too heavy for production). We love it because it speaks to the future of enthusiast cars. It is still very expensive, priced at $137,000, but a fraction when compared to Porsche’s 918. Especially considering that the i8 delivers much of the Porsche’s performance.
We’re excited that hybrid sports cars are being actively developed by the OEMs and wonder how long it will be before one releases an all-electric performance car. By the way, if you remember last year’s show we’re sad to report that Smart still doesn’t get it. [kiWO]
The rest of the photos... enjoy!